GETTY • WHATSAPP
Facebook is in hot water following its decision to use WhatsApp user data across the two services
WhatsApp, the world's most popular messaging service, is being sued in German court over privacy concerns.
The lawsuit concerns the way WhatsApp collects and shares its users information with Facebook.
Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, caused controversy last summer when it announced plans to use information from its WhatsApp messenger to influence the advertisements displayed on Facebook users' News Feed.
Under the drastic new changes, Facebook is capable of seeing the phone number associated with a WhatsApp account, enabling the California-based social network to link and track users’ profiles between the two services – helping the company gather more data for its advertisements.
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"By connecting your phone number with Facebook's systems, Facebook can offer better friend suggestions and show you more relevant ads if you have an account with them," the social network confirmed last year.
Privacy advocates in Europe were not amused by the changes.
And now the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband or VZBV) has asked the Berlin County Court for an injunction to halt the data sharing between the two services.
The VZBV is also seeking to force Facebook to delete any data WhatsApp has already handed over about its users.
WhatsApp now shares its users' data with parent company, Facebook
"The updates also comply with guidelines issued by EU regulators. As ever we remain open to working collaboratively to address their questions."
The news comes as the European Commission sent a statement of objections to Facebook in December 2016.
The statement alleges that the California-based social network gave "incorrect or misleading information" about the possibility of linking users' Facebook and WhatsApp accounts during a 2014 review of its $19 billion acquisition of the messaging app.